WP Engine offers the powerful and performant Genesis Framework and Premium StudioPress themes to all customers on its Startup,
Step 1: Copy to staging or development
Start by copying your live website to a staging or development environment. It is best to change themes in an environment where your live website users will not see the “under construction” phase!
In your User Portal, navigate to the Sites page and select your production environment from the list. If you don’t already have a staging or development environment in this site, click Add staging or Add development from the left-hand navigation, and select the tab to Copy from existing, choosing your production environment.
If you have a development or staging environment already which you wish to overwrite for this project, select the Copy to button in the top right corner, and select the environment you wish to use.
Step 2: Upload Genesis and your StudioPress theme
The Genesis Framework acts as a “parent” theme to all the premium StudioPress themes, which means installation requires installing both Genesis and your StudioPress theme.
Start by downloading both the Genesis Framework zip file and the zip file for your chosen StudioPress theme from your WP Engine User Portal under the Themes menu.
Then, navigate to your WordPress Admin Dashboard for your staging/development environment and select Appearance > Themes > Upload to add a new theme. Start by uploading the zip file for Genesis, but do not activate it. Then go through the same steps to upload the zip file for your StudioPress theme, and activate it after installing.
Your next steps will take place in the Customizer, where you can customize the appearance and features of the website using Widgets.
Step 3: Customize your site
Now that your theme is installed and active, you can customize the appearance using the Customizer. The Genesis Framework is built to use the Customizer fields like background images and colors, logos, Widgets, and Front page settings.
In the Themes section of your WP Engine User Portal, you will find links to your theme setup guide which explains which settings to configure to make your site look like the demo. Your setup guide will also include a link to a Sample Content XML file–this file can be imported to provide some content to use when building a new site.
This step can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to configure the settings as you desire. Themes based on the Genesis Framework do much of the appearance editing in the Customizer, meaning you may easily edit the appearance of your site without editing a single line of code!
You may also add a number of helpful plugins when creating a site with the Genesis Framework and a StudioPress theme. Below are the most commonly-used plugins that complement Genesis-based themes:
- Genesis Simple Edits
- Genesis Simple Hooks
- Genesis Simple Sidebars
- Genesis Simple FAQ
- Simple Social Icons (not Genesis-dependent)
You can find a number of plugins made by both StudioPress and the Genesis community to enhance your website in the WordPress plugin repository as well.
Step 4: Copy to Production
Once you have finished customizing your site and ensuring your content looks right within your new theme, you can copy your changes over to your Production website. Start by making a backup of both environments in your WP Engine User Portal, then select your production environment from the Sites page.
Select Copy from in the top right corner, and choose the environment where you have been redesigning your website. Confirm you would like to copy, and select the backup you just created from the list. Here you will also be asked if you would like to include the database in your copy. If your production website has updated since you made the copy to staging/development (like adding users, orders, posts, etc.), you may not want to copy the database. Learn more about staging best practices. When you continue, your development or staging environment will be copied to your production website! You will receive an email when the copy completes.
Once you have completed the copy, your production site should then reflect the changes made in staging/development!
As you create or redesign your website, there are several resources available to you for help:
- Genesis for Beginners
- Genesis community forums
- Recommended Genesis developers
- Genesis community on Facebook
- Genesis slack channel
- StudioPress theme setup guides (User Portal)
Have questions? Contact Support via 24/7 Live Chat in your WP Engine User Portal (view scope of support for StudioPress)